Does Rookie CB Take Xavien Howard off the Board for Minnesota?

8 Players We Think
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When the Minnesota Vikings made their 4th-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, it was used on a tall cornerback who should be expected to compete for reps immediately. Oregon’s Khyree Jackson isn’t a sure thing, but working with Brian Flores, he could definitely get up to speed quickly.

Does Rookie CB Take Xavien Howard off the Board for Minnesota?

Heading into the draft, it was only certain that the Minnesota Vikings would draft a quarterback. How they went about that, where, and what they would have to give up remained to be seen. By grabbing J.J. McCarthy 10th overall, they were able to hang onto significant draft capital in the process. Dallas Turner was then still available, and a move that landed him as the 17th pick landed him, and from there, it became a middle-round waiting game searching for depth.

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With a handful of needs still to their credit, Minnesota went with Khyree Jackson from Oregon. The 6’4″ cornerback is an imposing figure that can contend with taller wide receivers, and that’s something Minnesota didn’t have a year ago. NFL.com evaluated his outlook, saying, “Extremely imposing outside cornerback with rare size and strength. Jackson’s measurables are a big plus, but he started just 14 games during his college career, so the technique is inconsistent. He can be hit-or-miss from press, but when he catches the receiver with his punch, it’s trouble.”

NFL.com added, “A lack of anticipation and sticky hips cause him to get lost at transition points at times. Contested catches tilt heavily in his favor and will continue to do so as he improves with more coaching and experience. Jackson’s size and physicality combined with his NFL-caliber run support should make him an early backup with a chance to climb the ladder into a starting role if he proves he has the necessary speed.”

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Expected to come in and compete with the group of Akayleb Evans, Andrew Booth Jr., Shaq Griffin, and Mekhi Blackmon for a potential starting role, he may have taken Minnesota out of the running for free agent Xavien Howard. The former Miami Dolphins veteran has looked like an ideal fit throughout free agency, and his familiarity with Flores makes it a straightforward fit. Unless the Vikings want to bail on someone at the back end of the group, though, there may be too many mouths to feed.

Although Howards is something of an aging veteran, he is now fully healthy and will expect to start wherever he signs. Considering his production over the years and the group he would be joining in Minnesota, it’s pretty straightforward to suggest any contract inked with the Vikings will come with that notion. It’s possible that Flores doesn’t feel his group behind Byron Murphy Jr. has anyone ready to go on a weekly basis, but that may also bring some difficult choices as the rosters ultimately trim down as well.

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Jackson seems like a solid developmental pick with the potential to contribute pretty quickly. However, how likely do the Vikings believe that will be, as evidenced by whether they bring in veteran Howard?


Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

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